How far can we know about the appearance of code-switching?

I have an example to ask.

Saya baru membeli Honda CRV.

In Indonesian, the way to say the letters C, R, and V are , ér, and . But what if in that sentence, people say them in the English way as cee, ar, and vee? Is that code-switching?

  • 1
    I wouldn't call it code switching if they do it just for proper nouns such as this, "IBM", or "United States of America".
    – prash
    May 24, 2014 at 19:03

1 Answer 1


The definition of code switching is the switching between elements of two or more languages by speakers in a bilingual situation. Personally, I think that it is useful to think about code switching even in monolingual situations where there are distinct registers (formal and informal) or dialects.

However, neither under the narrow or the broad definition of code switching, this would qualify. This sounds more like the case of borrowing. This is something imported into the language and used by speakers who (presumably) do not switch between two codes but rather have enriched the one code they use.

On the other hand, I can imagine a situation where using the English spelling out could become a part of a sociolect - for instance, some people using it to indicate belonging to a modern or better off group - in which case, code switching could be a useful model for thinking about its use. But it would always be a borderline case.

  • Hi Dominik, do you happen to have some source on this? I'm looking for how to define "Please talk auf Deutsch". My wife thinks this would qualify as switching, because the not just the words, but also grammar is adjusted.
    – Zlatko
    Jan 31, 2019 at 20:02

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